When you walk into a twinkly casino, fill up at the buffet and then head to the tables or machines for your shot at luck, you expect to have a blast. There’s a buzzing atmosphere as champagne glasses clink, people mix and mingle, and the music is upbeat. But as you sit in front of a slot machine or roll dice, the truth is that your chances of winning are slim. This is because casinos use sounds, lights and physical design to manipulate people into spending more money than they intended.

Gambling has been part of human culture for millennia. Evidence of wooden blocks used in games of chance was found in 2300 BC, dice showed up around 500 AD, and card playing arrived in the 1400s. But a visit to the casino is more than just gambling, which is why they offer so much more: luxury hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and spas. This creates a sense of excitement and anticipation that makes people want to spend more time there than they might otherwise.

In addition to the sunk cost fallacy, casinos use other psychological tricks to keep people gambling. For example, many of them hide their clocks so that players lose track of time and keep betting, hoping that their luck will turn around. And many casinos have special reward programs where you earn points for every bet, even if you lose, which takes the sting out of losses.